Three words to win ‘most boring thing in life’ contests

Guaranteed you often help create the most boring experience any human can be forced to endure. Here’s what it is, and also three words that will solve this forever.

Watching a two hour music concert of four year olds you’re not related to?  Reading ancient ‘Knitting Weekly’ magazines in the doctor’s waiting rooms? Watching grass grow? None of these compare to what you make your colleagues and clients suffer when you, quite simply, bore their socks off. How do you do it? Same way I do.

By giving mind-numbingly boring presentations. Come on now… you know you do it. But fear not! Help is at hand. Here’s the one sure-fire way to guarantee yours will be the presentation everyone wants to turn up to!

Presentations suck – but they don’t need to

Sitting through presentations, particularly new business pitches, is the most boring thing in life. I know. I have sat through hundreds of them.

Most are poorly constructed, and terribly presented. Dark rooms, endless text heavy power points, monotone speakers, telling the ‘client’ what the client has already told them. And, in agency world, if there are five agencies pitching, four of them often present the same idea and approach. Boring. Deadly.

Clients have also often made up their minds on which agency they will select before the final presentation. (Getting on a short list does not mean you have a shot at the business.)

The Answer?

Here’s the one proven way to break that mould, delight your audience and greatly enhance your chances of winning…of getting agreement and a ‘yes’ to whatever it is you are asking for.


It’s as simple as that. Keep your presentations to 20 minutes or less.

In my industry, 45 minutes or an hour is the usual time allotted for a presentation, followed by question time.

Start your presentation like this: “Thanks for the opportunity. Now- our presentation is going to take 20 minutes. We will then give you a detailed proposal document,  and can then discuss any aspect you want to in more detail at that time.”

If you could look inside the client’s mind, you’d see one very large word: “YEEEEEEEHA!” Clients love it. They cheer up. Sit up. “Brilliant!” they say to themselves. “Not another boring, bland hour of torture. If you can do it in 20 minutes, I’ll pay attention!!!”

Get to your Big Idea or Core Concept within seven minutes – to the one thing you want your client to remember about your presentation more than anything else. And finish within 20 minutes.

It’s not always possible. I know. Sometimes clients give you 3 hours to present. They might ask you to spend half an hour each on six topics. So- do six 12 minute presentations instead. Same concept applies.

Give it a go. Be brave. Keep it short. You’ll see your audiences faces light up with relieved and delighted smiles when you do. And you’ll get that all important ‘YES’ far more often.

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8 Responses to Three words to win ‘most boring thing in life’ contests

  1. Tim Burrowes - Mumbrella September 28, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    A point very well made. I don’t think I’ve ever sat through a creds presentation that couldn’t have been half the time and twice as engaging.


    Tim – Mumbrella

    • Chris Savage September 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

      Thanks Tim!

  2. Sue Meehan - The White Agency Melbourne September 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    I concur! Great post Chris. Enthusiasm and detailed preparation can often lead to unnecessarily lengthy presentations. I like that 20 minute rule/challenge.

    • Chris Savage September 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      Thanks Sue- glad you liked it. Chris

  3. Carl Sherriff September 28, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Spot on Chris. And a great example of that thinking put into practice has to be Cheers, Carl.

  4. Tony Spencer-Smith September 28, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    At last, a three-word recipe to combat the terrible ennui of listening to long, rambling presentations – particularly if they are accompanied by complex and convoluted slides. So well said, Chris.

    The fact is, size counts in these matters – the shorter the better. And this applies to most communication.

    Those who want to sharpen their presentations and speeches can enrol for a course in Sydney on 13 October called Speak your mind: advanced presentation skills.

  5. Gary September 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm #


    You do like that Knitting Weekly – I’m tempted to go buy just for the insight…!

    Nice article though – I’d like to add that everyone should ditch the 90’s powerpoint and get on board with Presi,

    Want to showcase your digital creds? Don’t tell them…show them!



    • Chris Savage September 28, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

      Love it Gary – thanks!

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